What’s What in Community Radio
Broadcasting Services Act
The 1992 Broadcasting Act created the Australian Broadcasting Authority (ABA), which had significant powers over broadcasters through program standards that they had to meet. The ABA was structured to cope with new technologies and oversee all aspects of broadcasting and narrowcasting.
The ABA’s main role was to supervise a new regime of self-regulation, to help broadcasting organisations to develop their own codes of practice and to investigate complaints about breaches of those codes. In this period the CBAA as community radio’s peak body, developed the CBAA Codes of Practice with and for its members, such as 8CCC.
The Racial Hatred Act
Under the Act, unlawful behaviour is defined as public acts based on the race, colour, national or ethnic origin of a person or group of people, which are likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate. Community broadcasting is obviously a public act. People can complain to the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC). Complaints are resolved in HREOC hearings, which are aimed at conciliation rather than punishment. More information is available at http://www.hreoc.gov.au/
Defamation is the law to protect people’s reputations and to balance this with protecting reasonable freedom of speech. If someone thinks that you have broadcast anything that damages their reputation they can sue you as the program producer/presenter and/or the station, and the judge will decide if it is defamation. If so you could be ordered to pay fines, damages etc, and often the payouts are huge.
Anything that you play in your program may be liable for defamation, including anything a guest says, any pre-recorded material or anything written by someone else that you put to air. You, your guest, the station and licence holder could be sued for defamation.
Never think that because you are broadcasting on a community station that you can take the risk, because you are only broadcasting to a small population. Public figures, companies etc employ media monitors to provide reports on everything that is being said about them. And of course, as 8CCC starts streaming online, or when podcasts are made and distributed over the Internet you could be heard all over the world.
What can you do to minimize risk?
- Think carefully before you interview anyone. Is there a risk that they might say something that could lead to being sued? If you have any doubt, pre-record the interview and then edit the interview before going to air. Ask another producer or station manager to listen through if you still consider there is a risk.
- Think carefully about reading out anything on air that someone else has written. Check it before you read it, check the facts.
- You and 8CCC have to prove that they did not defame, rather than the person complaining proving that you did.
- If you unsure, check with the station manager.
The Copyright Act (1968) applies across Australia. Copyright law is to make sure that creators are paid fairly for their work It is a tricky balancing act between the artist’s right to reward for creativity and the right of the community to freely circulate ideas and information.
The work doesn’t have to be particularly ‘earth shattering’. A station memo is protected in the same way as a novel and a jingle the same as a large musical work, provided they are recorded in a material form. Information about all aspects of copyright is available from the Copyright Council of Australia www.copyright.org.au
For broadcasters, copyright questions arise mostly, but not only, about broadcasting of original works (eg programs written specifically for 8CCC, live performances, reading of unpublished works etc) and use of music recordings (CDs, downloaded music from the Internet, published books etc) and it is important to understand the risks of breach of copyright.
- Original works broadcast include programs that were specifically written, produced or prepared by or for the station and also the adlib or scripted remarks of announcers.
- The station owns copyright in its transmission. Individuals may make off air recordings for private home use, and for podcasting, provided that the broadcast does not include recorded music.
- A recording or podcast can be made provided written permission has been received from the copyright owners of any live performed music (eg a singer songwriter performing a song she had written, in the studio) or live read of a writer’s own work.
- 8CCC takes the necessary steps to obtain licences required to broadcast recorded music. The license fee covers copyright payments to writers, performers and record companies through APRA and AMCOS (see Who’s Who in Community Radio).
- In general it is illegal to copy a recording.
- Program producers and presenters agree to play only recorded music that is owned by 8CCC – stored on its digital library, or in its CD and record library – or recorded music that they own (original CDs and recorded music purchased online) and bring in to play during their programs.
- Check with the Station Manager if in doubt about copyright.
8CCC must keep a copy of all broadcasts made by the station for six weeks after broadcast. This is done automatically.
Who’s Who in Community Radio
8CCC members, including program producers, presenters and other station volunteers
These are the people who are involved in all aspects of community radio from programming, administration and fundraising to name a few. Our station volunteers are our greatest resource! According to CBOnline (www.cbonline.org.au) in 2014 there were over 20,000 broadcasters volunteering in Australian Community Radio and their work was valued at $232 million per annum.
At 8CCC, over 50 volunteers (including Board members) produce and present programs, undertake audio productions for broadcast, provide admin support, do promotion, recruit members and identify and sign up sponsors, organise events, provide IT support and audio library maintenance, carry out website development and maintenance, and help clean the station.
Some members have been involved in 8CCC since the early 1980s – a fantastic commitment to the station, to the community and a significant contribution to the volunteer sector in Central Australia. As a member of 8CCC, as a station volunteer, you are part of a big history!
Under the CBAA Codes of Practice, a community radio station’s Board must meet regularly and discuss the needs of the station. 8CCC’s Board of Management (Board) is made up of current 8CCC members who are nominated and elected as general Board Members or office bearers. The Board meets monthly, and the minutes are available to read at the station on the noticeboard.
All members of 8CCC are welcome to attend meetings (please advise the President or Secretary prior to meeting). Elections are held at the Annual General Meeting although any vacant positions can be filled during the year.
The 8CCC Board determines the direction and focus for the station through the development, implementation and ongoing monitoring of our Strategic Plan (current strategic plan is available at the station – 2014-2019).
8CCC has its accounts audited annually, and prepares an annual report against the key performance indicators in the Strategic Plan. These documents are available at the studios in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.
8CCC staff and contractors
These individuals and businesses are contracted to provide services to support the volunteers in running the station, managing the broadcasting and IT equipment in Alice Springs and in Tennant Creek, legal requirements, grants, book-keeping, security, training, promotion and marketing, membership management, sponsorships and specific projects.
Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA)
ACMA oversees all broadcasting sectors including radio, television and broadband internet. They receive complaints from listeners and when necessary they investigate these complaints and make rulings about them. They also supervise broadcasting legislation and issue and remove broadcasting licences, including the long-term community radio broadcast licence for 102.1FM which 8CCC operates under in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.
Community Broadcasting Foundation (CBF)
The CBF is the independent body set up to distribute any funds given to the community broadcasting sector. Most of those funds come from the Federal Government. The funds are managed by a board elected by the CBAA, the National Ethnic Media Broadcasters Council (NEMBC), the Australian Indigenous Communications Association (AICA), and the Council for the Print Handicapped and Radio for the Print Handicapped (RPH). All these organisations represent community broadcasters. During 2012, 8CCC received funding from CBF for training, radio content development, equipment and a contribution towards the costs of transmission operations. http://www.cbf.com.au
Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA)
The CBAA looks after the community radio and television sector. It is managed by a board elected by member stations, including 8CCC. The CBAA lobbies for government funding and sets our codes of practice, and runs many services including training, the Community Radio Satellite Service and the annual conference. http://www.cbaa.org.au
Australian Performing Rights Association (APRA)
APRA represents the interests of composers and music publishers. Every time a song is played in public or broadcast, permission is needed from the copyright owner. Because it is impractical for each individual songwriter to be contacted every time a song is played, a ‘collecting society’ has been set up (APRA) to issue licenses to radio stations to broadcast songs on behalf of the copyright owners and to then distribute royalties back to the copyright owners. http://www.apra-amcos.com.au
Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (AMCOS)
AMCOS is administered by APRA. It represents most music publishers and covers recordings of copyright music. Most radio stations have licence agreements with AMCOS which allows them to keep and reproduce music beyond the terms of their APRA licence. AMCOS charges community radio stations a fee each year. http://www.apra-amcos.com.au
Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA)
PPCA is an organisation of record companies, which licenses the broadcast of sound recordings on behalf of its members. PPCA charges community radio stations an annual fee and distributes most of this money to the record companies, and some directly to the artists on the recordings. http://www.ppca.com.au
Australian Music Radio Airplay Project AMRAP
AMRAP promotes new Australian music to community radio stations. AMRAP provides a service to Australian musicians, by distributing and promoting their music to the 285+ community radio stations across Australia. Community radio stations including 8CCC receive promotional CDs and have access AMRAP’s online database of Australian music, from which tracks can be selected and packaged into customised CDs or downloaded direct. This service – AIRIT – is free to program producers and presenters at community radio stations, and means presenters can access music by Australian Independent artists in the genres they are interested in. This is a valuable service to 8CCC because our presenters are able to listen to and learn about Australian artists much more easily than in the past, and share this with our listeners www.amrap.com.au